Using a resume and a word cloud to visualize professional growth & change

Back in October 2012 I created a word cloud out of my resume to visualize the essence of my professional skills and experiences. Now that it’s been almost 2 years since I did this, I thought it might be cool to create a new word cloud from an updated resume and see how they compare.

Here are the two word clouds:

resumewordle10-6-12October 2012

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 12.52.21 PMJuly 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 3.02.59 PM2012 and 2014 word clouds together (click for larger view)

One thing that catches my eye is that each one shows how I chose to talk about my professional skills and experiences in a particular moment in time (i.e., the language/perspective I use). For example, in 2012 I still had a very anthropology-centric perspective on my role as a researcher, whereas now my focus is more as an applied or user experience researcher and a business/strategy consultant. So, the prevalence of a particular word might relate to experience/frequency, but it might also relate to how one thinks about one’s career/experiences/professional self (also related to the audience of the resume.)

Clearly a big part of my current professional role is still pretty much the same – exemplified by the word “research” as the most prevalent word in both groups. With the 2014 visualization, I can see that my role has expanded to include more “project management,” “consulting,” “business” and “strategy” than just flat out research. I still draw on the same fundamental epistemology in my work today as I did in 2012 (e.g., “qualitative” and “anthropology”), but it seems that my methodological toolkit has grown. While the 2012 word cloud contains methods like “interviews” and “observation”, the 2014 word cloud features these plus the addition of “usability.” Finally, the word “clients” indicates that I have gained experience in agency-side work (versus my job as an internal researcher in 2012.) Overall, I didn’t have as much professional experience in 2012, so there were more words related to my schooling (e.g., “Memphis,” “Eckerd College,” and “writing”) than real-world work.

I think it’s kind of nifty to easily see the nuts and bolts of my professional journey and to compare the visuals from year to year. Perhaps I will do this again after some more time has passed and see what further changes have taken place.

If you want to create your own word clouds, visit http://www.wordle.net or http://www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud/# and enter the text of your entire resume or CV. For different levels of nuance, you can choose how many words to include for analysis (I chose 100 for the 2014 word cloud, but am not sure about the 2012 one.)

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